Despite the pandemic, the extension of the Nye County cooperative is still going strong
Although the past year has been very difficult for organizations across the United States, for the local cooperative extension of the University of Nevada, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has fortunately not been. Overwhelmingly, with extension officials reporting that despite testing presented over the past fifteen months, its many programs and services continue to perform as well.
Heather Freeman, part-time master gardener coordinator at UNCE, provided an update on the extension’s activities over the past year at the Nye County committee meeting on Tuesday, June 15.
“The Tonopah and Pahrump offices are open again, in person. Tonopah is open four days a week, we (Pahrump) are open five days a week. We get a lot of phone calls and visits, ”Freeman told Commissioners.
Freeman said that one of the larger ventures in the cooperative extension was focused on outreach efforts in local schools. Last March, the organization visited several educational institutions in the region with the aim of encouraging young students to get involved in some of the extension’s valuable programs.
“Our leaders got involved in the after-school program, ie the SAFE schools through the NyE Communities Coalition. They were able to visit each of the elementary schools and the college this year, ”said Freeman. “They handed out kits that the children could take home, they came back and received assessments, they worked with each child multiple times and made sure they visited each school multiple times, to develop that relationship and hopefully this has added a lot more 4-H kids coming to our program this summer.
As for how the Pahrump 4-H program has performed over the past year, Freeman was enthusiastic in its praise, noting that members of the various 4-H clubs have been successful not only through the pandemic, but thriving in the over the months. challenge.
“Our 4-H here at Pahrump really rocked him this year,” Freeman said with obvious pleasure. “The Robotics Team (Awkward Silence) took their status and qualified for the worlds, which they would have traveled to had they not been canceled.”
To date, Freeman said the robotics team has lost several of its members, who have graduated from high school and left the program, but that hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of the team in any way. team, Freeman adding that the group continues to come together this summer in an effort to rebuild itself. “They are training with a new team for the coming year,” she explained.
Addressing a related club, Freeman also spoke about the Lego League Explorers, which can give young people a good head start on joining the robotics club in the future. Freeman remarked that there were “a lot of great kids 6-10 years old who are getting into engineering and wanting to get involved in STEM.
The 4-H Bullseye Shooting Sports club also earned quite a prestigious honor this year, with two members of the team currently in Nebraska representing the state of Nevada at the national championships.
Another 4-H program is the Word Play Cafe Creative Writing Group, which is in the midst of a very exciting process, publishing their own book, titled “Photographic Memories”. Freeman said the book, which is still in preparation, is being released as a fundraiser for the group and that the public can help with this mission by purchasing a copy when it goes into print this fall.
The Dog Den program is another 4-H group that gives kids the chance to train their dog in agility and showmanship while learning to work as a team, and the Get Started in Art club gives kids the chance to explore their own creativity and imagination. 4-H also has a breeding project and a garden club, aimed at teaching children how to handle animals well and how to grow their own delicious and healthy fruits and vegetables.
One of the other efforts of the UNCE that seemed excited about Freeman was the distribution of 100 kits for the Health Rocks! Program. “It’s about promoting healthy choices for children. It’s sort of a combination of healthy food choices, healthy lifestyle habits, drug resistance, and a third layer is healthy mental health choices. So, being able to recognize when they are under a lot of stress, ways to relieve that stress, what is a good choice, what is a bad choice and when they need to seek help for themselves or for a friend, so I can reach out and ask for help, ”Freeman detailed. These kits were given to students at Rosemary Clarke Middle School.
Moving on to activities outside of 4-H, Freeman said master gardeners are doing well too.
For master gardeners, one of its best-known programs is the weekly Farmers’ Market, which takes place at Tractor Supply every Saturday. The COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the farmer’s market last year, resulting in a shutdown in line with the state’s initial response at the onset of the pandemic. Weekly events resume in June and then came to a standstill again in early December, but in January Freeman said the farmers’ market came back stronger than ever. “We have an average of 22 to 25 suppliers per week and around 300 guided tours. Someday we can get more than that, ”she explained.
The Master Gardeners also continue to consult on local community gardening efforts, such as those at PEC RV Resort, Faith For Action, and Floyd Elementary, as well as engage in other activities such as clean-up projects to help dispose of trash lining Highway 372, the local Earth and Arbor Day event, the Wild West Extravaganza, and of course, the Co-op Extension Demonstration Garden at its best.
“The Extension Garden itself is open for self-guided tours from dawn to dusk. We have a lot of people walking their dogs or trading rocks, we have three geocaches on site and at least one Pokemon Go, so a lot of people use the property just to relax and have fun, ”Freeman said. . She added that the demonstration garden is also a good place to go for inspiration and education regarding the best type of flora to plant in the valley, noting, “Most of the trees and plants (in the garden of demonstration) survive on very little water and help demonstrate the beauty that the desert can offer.
At the end of the presentation, Panel Chair Debra Strickland thanked Freeman for taking the time to join the meeting that morning. “Your reach is phenomenal. Good job at Stormy (Ingersoll) too! ”
For more information on the many programs and services provided by UNCE, visit www.extension.unr.edu or stop by the Pahrump office at 1651 E. Calvada Boulevard or the Tonopah office at 1 Frankie Street. The Pahrump office can be reached at 775-727-5532 and the Tonopah office can be reached at 775-482-6794.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at [email protected]